Lesson 5: The influence of media and gender stereotypes

Lesson 5: The influence of media and gender stereotypes

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+Curriculum Links

  • Junior Cycle SPHE Short Course Strand 3:
  • Team up: Media influence on relationships and sexuality
  • Junior Cycle SPHE Modules: Relationships and sexuality; Influences and decisions

+Differentiating this lesson for students with SEN
Dedicated lessons may be needed to explain the concepts of gender stereotypes and media influences to students with SEN, depending on their needs.
+Resources and Methodologies

  • Newspapers and magazines, Tips for resisting the pressure advice sheet, Worksheet 5.2, list of helping organisations from Appendix 2
  • Methodologies: Video analysis, debate, media analysis

+Teachers’ Note
It is advisable to read the best-practice guidelines before engaging in lesson delivery. Before leading any of the activities included in this resource, it’s important that you have established clear ground rules with the class and that students see the SPHE class as an open and caring environment. Take the time to outline the supports available to students (both inside and outside of school), should they be affected by any of the issues discussed in the class and need to talk to someone. Highlight the fact that if there are any disclosures indicating underage sexual activity, you will be obliged to report the incident to the Designated Liaison Person. It is best to try to avoid discussing real cases, familiar to the students, and instead to focus discussions on the cases presented in the lessons.
+Activity 5.1 - Gender Issues

  • STEP 1: This lesson will help the students develop strategies for recognising and resisting the pressures, stereotypes and influences that can lead to non-consensual sharing.
  • STEP 2: Seán’s actions in the animations, viewed in previous classes, were both reckless and harmful. Students will consider the following question:Q. What do Seán’s actions tell us about his attitude towards women?Sample answer: Seán’s actions show a lack of respect for Bronagh and her right to privacy. He violates the trust she showed in him by sending the pictures on to his friends. He uses the pictures to gain status with his friends. Though he mightn’t have intended it, Seán’s actions show that he thinks of women as prizes to show off.
  • STEP 3: Have students examine some magazines, newspapers and other forms of media to see how the media might have influenced how Seán treats Bronagh and to see if Seán’s attitude is commonly held.Q. Are there differences around how the media treats women’s bodies and sexuality, as opposed to men’s?
    Sample answer: It is much more common for journalists to comment on women’s bodies and to judge and describe a female celebrity based on her physical attributes. In certain publications there are many example where a woman’s beauty and sex-appeal is used to sell a product. Men are seldom used in this way. The sexualisation of women’s bodies wrongly normalises the practice of seeing women primarily as sexual objects. This attitude could influence how men treat the women in their lives.

Q. What could be done to encourage young people to treat each other with greater respect?

Sample answer: It is important that young people are educated on treating others with respect, both online and offline. Here, it can be useful to help young people empathise with others and to see situations from different perspectives. It’s also important that young people are made aware of the pressures and stereotypes that might influence their actions and are given advice on overcoming these pressures. When it comes to sending nudes, it’s important that young people seriously consider the potential consequences of sending the messages. They should wait till they are of age and in a loving and trusting relationship before sending nudes.

+Activity 5.2 - Resisting the pressure

  • STEP 1: Give each student a handout with Tips for resisting the pressure and encourage them to read the tips (again, differentiated versions of the advice sheet are included).
  • STEP 2: Get each student to complete Worksheet 5.2. This worksheet requires students to compose a text in which they demonstrate an ability to be assertive and resist giving in to peer pressure.
  • STEP 3: Have the students exchange ideas for responding to the text.

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